March 8, 2007

Intolerance Seeks, and Gains, New Footholds

Extremists worldwide are harnessing unemployment, social unrest, gender conflict and simple bigotry to advance their crusades.

In France, Jean-Marie Le Pen — an accused racist who calls for an end to immigration and tax cuts for native French only — may again be set to upset the presidential elections. Though he has not yet declared his candidacy, his support in the polls is greater than ever.

Hungary, shocked by riots last year after its socialist president confirmed that he had lied during the election, faces renewed violence with an attack on a police station, and mobilization of “skinheads and football hooligans” in advance of its March 15 independence holiday, Inter Press Service reports.

In Pakistan, a woman social welfare minister was shot to death in front of a crowd by an unrepentant religious fanatic. According to the Christian Science Monitor, attacks on women, particularly those working in government and education, are on the rise there.

And the Associated Press reports that some officials in the western United States, afraid of being targeted by a growing white supremacist prison gang known for identity theft, are going to court to remove their names from public records.

Sources:

“Extremist Le Pen strikes chord in France, again”
Deutsche Welle, March 5, 2007

“Something’s Rotten in the State of Hungary”
Inter Press Service, February 27, 2007

“Violent debate on women’s rights in Pakistan”
Christian Science Monitor, March 6, 2007

“White Supremacist gang gains clout”
Associated Press, March 5, 2007

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